CQ man opens up about life changing disease
AN EMERALD man who faced a life changing trucking accident says living with diabetes is one of the most challenging things he has ever had to.
Richard ‘Creeky’ Creek, 65, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2015 after being regularly fatigued.
Although it didn’t change his life dramatically. He would take a few pills each morning, and made some dietary changes including cutting out cans of coke.
“It was manageable,” he said.
Just two years later he was involved in a trucking accident that changed everything.
Mr Creek had always worked in the agricultural industry and was making a delivery when the truck blew a tyre and “shot me down into a ditch” between Springsure and Rolleston.
He fractured three vertebrae in his back, crushed another, and smashed the inside of his hip.
“If I didn’t have my seatbelt on I would’ve been dead,” Mr Creek said.
For the first six months he was in a brace and could barely walk, couldn’t sit and couldn’t stand.
It was then that he was told he would never work again, which he says was devastating because he would normally be flat out working five or six days a week.
And that’s when the real challenge started.
“Because I couldn’t exercise and I couldn’t do anything, my blood sugar level would shoot up to an average of 18 when it should be somewhere between 4-7,” he said.
Three years on from the accident and Mr Creek stresses and worries more than ever about what he can do to level out his blood sugar level everyday.
He can only walk for five minutes, three times a day which makes it harder to manage his diabetes.
“Sometimes I just want to give up because it’s all so hard, I can’t handle it,” Mr Creek said.
“From when you get up in the morning to when you go to bed you have to check your levels and work out what you can do to treat it.
“Small amounts of exercise and different foods can change it all dramatically.”
Diabetes Australia has launched its new campaign ‘Heads Up on Diabetes’ as part of National Diabetes Week from July 12-18.
The campaign focuses on the mental and emotional health impact of living with diabetes and encouraging people to talk about it and access support if they need it.
Diabetes Australia has revealed that more than one in three people with diabetes say they feel burnt out by the constant effort required to manage diabetes.
CEO Professor Greg Johnson said it was critical that health professionals, people with diabetes and the broader community recognised the seriousness of the mental and emotional health impact of living with diabetes.
“Diabetes is absolutely relentless,” he said.
“Day in, day out, 365 days a year.
“People have to keep track of many daily tasks – medicines, blood glucose monitoring, and the numerous ongoing health checks that are required.”
Mr Johnson said many diabetics were also worried about the long term impacts, including losing limbs, eyesight, experiencing kidney failure or heart failure.
Mr Creek said it was important to have someone to talk to because of the huge “mental and emotional” strains.
He said he was lucky to have his wife Jillyn and children, because “without them I would be lost”.
As part of National Diabetes Week Mr Creek wanted to raise awareness about what it’s like living with diabetes.
“I would give anything to go back before the accident and just had the tablets and nothing much changed, but now it’s all I think about,” he said.
“Your whole life is governed around diabetes.
“I never knew about it until I got it because it’s not really something people talk about. But I want to change that.”